Blood red roses

Music: Trad. arr. Sheena Phillips. Words: Trad.
TBB, piano
performance time approx 2m 30s
Range T: e – e' / Bar: e – d' / B: c# – c'#
Price code: B
Complexity: **

See a perusal copy of the music.
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This piece is part of the set Six sea shanties
The next piece is Boney
If you don't want to buy the whole set, then you can buy Blood red roses individually using the link on this page.
Blood red roses is a long haul shanty that accompanied the extended heavy work of raising sails. It’s peppered with colourful epithets and alludes to the perils of rounding Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America, where there are strong winds and fierce seas nearly all year round. The rising phrases of the tune act as preparation for the strenuous pulls on the lower-pitched words "Go down".

‘Blood red roses’ may refer to the red uniforms of the British Marines - but the precise origin of the term is unknown.


Our boots and shoes are all in pawn,
Go down, you blood red roses, go down!
It’s flaming drafty round Cape Horn,
Go down, you blood red roses, go down!
Oh, you pinks and posies!
Go down, you blood red roses, go down!

It’s ’round Cape Horn we all must go,
For that is where them whalefish blow.

My dear old mother she said to me,
My dearest son, come home from sea.

Just one more pull and that will do,
For we're the boys to kick her through.

Purchase – 2041: Blood red roses

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